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Understanding the – COVID-19: Ontario Energy Assistance Program

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* This blog was updated on May 14, 2021.

The Ontario government is helping small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic pay their energy bills.

The COVID-19 Energy Assistance Program for Small Business (CEAP-SB) allows eligible customers to apply for a one-time, on-bill credit to pay overdue charges and then resume regular payments.

Under the CEAP-SB, eligible small business and registered charity customers may be eligible for up to $1,500 in support towards their electricity and natural gas bills. They can apply for on-bill credits for both electricity and natural gas separately.

Customers who previously received CEAP-SB support that was less than the maximum amount of $1,500, and have additional arrears, may apply again, but their total on-bill credits cannot exceed that amount.

How to apply?

Program funds are being dispensed by electricity distributors, natural gas distributors and unit sub-meter providers (USMPs), as per the rules set down by the Ontario Energy Board.

Eligible small business customers must apply through their utility or USMP. They are expected to process applications within 10 business days of receiving them.

In summer 2020, the government set aside $8 million to help small business customers through this program. In March 2021, the program received an additional $23 million to help residential and small business customers.

There is no deadline to apply to the program but since funding is limited, applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Simply applying to the program does not guarantee that you’ll receive the funding.

For eligibility criteria and application forms, visit the program page on the Ontario Energy Board website.

How much support will I receive?

Eligible small business and registered charity customers may receive CEAP-SB credits for the electricity or natural gas charges that are overdue on the date of their application for CEAP-SB, up to a maximum of $1,500.

Can I apply for CEAP-SB to get support for both electricity and natural gas bills?

Yes. If eligible, you may apply for both electricity and natural gas bills. But please note that you will receive a CEAP-SB credit only once for your electricity bill and only once for the natural gas bill.

If you previously received CEAP support that was less than the maximum amount of $1,500, you may apply again. But your total on-bill credits for each bill (electricity and gas) cannot exceed that amount.

This means you may receive up to $1,500 for your electricity bill, and up to $1,500 for a gas bill.

When will I receive the one-time credit?

If your utility or USMP still has funds when they review your completed application, the credit will be applied to your next bill.

Do I have to reapply if my application was previously rejected due to a lack of funding?

No. If your application was previously denied due to a lack of funding, your original applications will be reviewed by utilities. You will be contacted directly if you meet the eligibility criteria and funding is available.

Need support navigating business issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

To get advice on how to maintain your business during the pandemic, call an expert today: 1 (833) 247-3652.